BARNSTABLE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Cost of child care is a headache among many young families in America, but a couple studies indicate that those on the arm and Islands may have it especially bad.
According to the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, access to early childhood education is a major concern, as many face one-year-long waitlists to enroll children under the age of five into programs, something that suggests a shortage of care providers. Officials say Lower and Outer Cape are essentially 'childhood education deserts' when it comes to finding a licensed early childhood education institution.
"There's limited availability, we have more children than we have child care seats in Barnstable County, and the cost of child care in Massachusetts is the second highest in the nation, right behind Washington D.C," Cape Cod Commission Executive Director Kristy Senatori said.
Meanwhile, the CCC study says that child care is difficult to find, is expensive, causes parents to alter work schedules, and causes families to consider leaving Cape Cod or the Islands altogether.
"Infant care costs more than housing, generally. Infant care is about $21,000 a year and that costs about 45 percent more than the average annual housing cost in Massachusetts," Senatori said.
In terms of recommendations in finding a solution to this costly lifestyle, the CCC supplied several. Officials proposed state authorities provide town residents with child care scholarships, support affordable housing options for child care workers, invest early education development in 'desert areas,' and encourage employers to help recruit and retain parents in the workforce.
WBZ's Tim Dunn (@ConsiderMeDunn) reports.